Coombs runs into history

Aimelie Ronquillo | Courtesy
Aimelie Ronquillo | Courtesy

By Alexis Platt

Sophomore Marissa Coombs trained six times a week and gave 100 percent every practice. This hard work and dedication were catalysts for her being named an NCAA All-American in the mile event during the NCAA indoor championships held in Grinnell, Iowa. This was a historical moment for Virginia Wesleyan athletics as this marked the first time a female track and field athlete accomplished such a feat.

For an athlete to be recognized as an All-American, he or she has to finish in the top eight in the event at the national meet. Coombs crossed the tape in seventh place, which preserved her spot in school history.

Coombs, while being a member of the track and field team, also plays midfield for the VWC women’s soccer team. Originally, Coombs saw track as a way to keep her conditioned for soccer. She didn’t start running track until her junior year of high school at Kittatinny Regional High School in Sussex county, New Jersey. She ran track her senior year of high school as a way to stay in shape for soccer, not realizing that she would come to college and become an All-American track star.

“I am truly honored to be the first woman All-American at Virginia Wesleyan track and field. I know there are going to be girls down the road from now to follow in my footsteps, and I’m happy that I could pave the way,” Coombs said.

Coombs set a new personal record running a 4:56.45 mile at the Old Dominion Conference track meet in the mile. She is one of three people in the Old Dominion Conference who ran a mile under five minutes.

“After the race, I was so ecstatic not only to be named All-American but to have broken the five minutes in the mile,” Coombs said. “I had this goal in the back of my mind going into the season. I knew I needed to work hard in practice, fuel my body right and make sure I was taking care of my body before and after practice.”

Coombs said she goes by the motto of never settling.

“I’m always looking forward to the future and always pushing myself beyond my comfort zone,” she said.

Fellow teammates have also praised Coombs’ effort and believes it has made a positive impact not only for their team, but for the school as a whole.

Facebook | Courtesy
Facebook | Courtesy

“She is setting great standards for other mile and long distance runners. She showed everyone that you can go all the way without having a facility or anything else we need to be successful,” said mid-distance runner/jumper Alexis Coverton.

Sprinter Tiffany Lennon also voiced her support for Coombs and appreciates what she brings to the table.

“I am extremely proud of all of the things that Marissa has accomplished in her short time at this school. She consistently gives her all in practice and it is apparent in her dominant performances in our meets,” Lennon said.

“I feel like VWC has tremendous female athletes across the board in every sport and Marissa’s success, as well as the performances of other female athletes, will give the proper exposure that the women’s teams deserve.” Lennon add

Now that Coombs competed in the NCAA Championship meet, she is hungry to make it back again during outdoor season and during future seasons.

“It feels great to be named an All-American. I’m filled with such a genuine sense of accomplishment having the honor to run in the NCAA championship meet,”Coombs said.

With Coombs success, she will become a part of VWC’s athletic history and be a role model for many other athletes who seek to make history.